Capitalizing on Social Media Idols

Celebrities are the ultimate influencers. For as long as advertising has existed, brands have been chasing after valuable endorsements from pop culture icons in hopes of tapping into their enormous influence. Money and power may have made them famous, but those aren’t the reasons why endorsements are valuable. The simple reason why celebrity endorsements are so widely sought is that when they talk, people listen.

We’re all used to seeing our favorite athletes and actors show up in TV and magazine ads. The reasons for using these types of endorsements are well established. According to an article from Forbes, a single celebrity endorsement can raise sales by around 4% almost immediately, regardless of the product or the endorser. It can also raise stock values and inspire confidence in stakeholders. However, the modern communication environment is more complex than it used to be, and so is the prospect of using celebrity endorsements.

It’s common knowledge at this point that having a social media presence is a necessity for any company interested in marketing, but the best practices for social media marketing may not be so common. It turns out that celebrity endorsements are just as, if not more effective when incorporated into social media marketing. A study by Brand Affinity Technologies found that celebrity-endorsed posts are 50% more cost-effective in activating audiences than non-endorsed ones and have clickthrough-rates 21 times higher. These are impressive numbers, but why does this work?

Jennifer Lueck writes about a concept called Parasocial Interaction. This refers to the way in which fans interact with their favorite celebrities on social media. Celebrities who are highly active on social networks, such as Kim Kardashian, have millions of followers. It is virtually impossible to get to know or even have any sort of personal interaction with a fraction of those fans. However, because of the personal and intimate nature of celebrity posts, fans often feel as if they personally know and have a relationship with these social media icons. They feel like a part of the celebrity’s life, knowing roughly the same amount of information about them as most people know about their real life friends. This familiarity and attachment creates very loyal and engaged followers, which is exactly what social media marketers are seeking. This explains why, when Kim Kardashian’s followers see an Instagram post from her featuring a new lipstick she’s in love with, they are 21 times more likely to click through and investigate that product; it’s essentially a recommendation from a friend, rather than an impersonal marketing message.

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Kim & Co. advertise husband Kanye West’s new clothing line

Social media marketing is all about activating and energizing your audience, motivating them to do the marketing for you. Having a celebrity endorse your product on social media is like gaining a mutual friend with millions of people. That is why celebrity endorsements are an approach every social media marketer should look for opportunities to incorporate.

By: Wesley Marcum

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